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April 15, 2010 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-04-15

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

From Page 1A
Newdow was eventually defeated.
In addition, Newdow is also
trying to get the words "In God
We Trust" removed from U.S.
currency and is working to elimi-
nate the presidential inaugural
Mike's mother Roz Newdow
said she and her husband didn't
try to persuade their children
to take up any specific beliefs.
Instead all the members of the
family, which she described as
Jewish but secular, independently
became atheists.
"We're all atheists," Roz said.
"But it was all their decision."
But Newdow, who was born in
1953 in New York, claims he was
an atheist since he was in the
"I was born an atheist, as we
all were," he said in an interview
over the summer. "And I never
Julie Newdow, Newdow's
younger sister, said the family
never overtly discussed their reli-
gious beliefs among one another
until her brother's court cases
But Newdow's work to reform
governmental language as it per-
tains to religion doesn't stem so
much from his religious convic-
tions as it does from his passion
for law, said Oberman, now a pro-
fessor at the Santa Clara Univer-
sity School of Law.
Newdow's fervor to preserve
the foundations of the Bill of
Rights has influenced his endeav-
or to reverse Americans' standard
to "profess and even embrace a
God-centered rhetoric in the pub-
lic sphere," Oberman said.
"His research shows unequivo-
cal proof of the founders' inten-
tion to make this country free
from persecution on account of
one's personal religious beliefs,"
Oberman said.
Newdow developed his pas-
sion for the constitution during
his time at the University's Law
School. After earning his bach-
elor's degree in biology from
Brown University in 1974 and his
medical degree from the Univer-
sity of California at Los Angeles
Medical School in 1978, he decid-
ed several years later to pursue
his law degree at Michigan.
In his early thirties when he
started law school, Newdow was
older than most students at the

University. Employing his medi-
cal background, he worked as a
locum tenens ER physician - a
physician who substitutes for
other physicians - at various hos-
pitals in Michigan during his time
as a law student.
While in Ann Arbor, Newdow
also grew to have a close friend-
ship with his professor, Peter
The two - who still keep in
touch today - would meet dur-
ing office hours to talk about class
material, though their discus-
sions often meandered beyond the
course subject matter.
"He has maybe the most eager-
to-learn mind than anyone I
know, and it's certainly one of his
best qualities," Weston said. "He
always wants to learn."
Julie said that, as a kid, New-
dow would study the dictionary;
simply open the heavy book and
learn words he didn't know. She
said he'd also write songs about
some of the words, choosing the
most obscure vocabulary to fold
into the next verse.
"He was always just in anoth-
er stratosphere, another world,"
Julie said. "Not only because he's
so brilliant, but he has this work
ethic and at the same time is
extremely humble."
Julie said Newdow's pension
for making changes to the sys-
tem could be seen during his time
working in hospitals while he
was in law school. She said that
from her understanding, he told
many patients that the tests doc-
tors prescribed for them weren't
necessary, but instead were very
"He would try to change the
system that probably should
be changed," she said "He'd go
against bureaucracy. He can't
keep his mouth quiet if he believes
in something."
Though Newdow planned to
combine his expertise in both law
and health after law school, by
going into health law, he ended up
taking a different path.
Oberman said Newdow's deci-
sion to carry out his convictions
regarding religion in government
began when he was teaching his
daughter math at a store one day
a few years ago.
"While standing in line teach-
ing (his daughter) math sums...he
happened to notice the words, 'In
God We Trust' on the coin," Ober-
man said. "Soit began."
When he saw this phrase on the
coin, Newdow said he thought,

"This can't be right. I'm getting
this off."
Lawrence Marshall, Oberman's
husband and director of the Mills
Legal Clinic in Stanford Law
School, said Newdow's work on
the Pledge of Allegiance case that
went to the Supreme Court was
widely respected in the law com-
"It was just a tour de force,"
Marshall said. "Several very
prominent legislators came up to
me afterward with their jaws on
the floor. They were just so awed
by how marvelous a job (Newdow)
did at the relevant issue and most
importantly maintaining a cer-
tain tone and decorum."
Marshall added that Newdow's
work in the courtroom wasn't
surprising given his personality.
"He's among the most passion-
ate I know," Marshall said. "He
sees the world as it oughteto be and
refuses to accept it to be anything
else. He's incapable of accepting
the idea of institutions or people
to be less than the ideals that they
promote and claim to be."
Marshall said even though
Newdow ultimately didn't win the
case, it wasn't because his logic
was flawed, but rather because it
explicitly challenged the tradi-
tional foundations of the federal
"It's very difficult for a court to
look at the law at this field and say,
'Yes it's fine to tell our school chil-
dren that our nation is under God
and that the children who don't
believe in God are inferior,"' Mar-
shall said. "It seems to me that
this is the implicit message kids
are being given every morning."
Marshall continued, "It's real
clear. But based on the law and
the principles of the first amend-
ment, the problems are at the level
of political realities that courts
have to deal with. This is what
caused the struggle."
Oberman said she thinks the
reason there is so much contro-
versy surrounding Newdow's
efforts is because of a biased opin-
ion against atheists' beliefs in the
United States.
"He is seen as being hostile to
God and to those who believe in a
deity," she said. "On the contrary,
his position is simply that God-
talk doesn't belong in the public
One of the presiding judges on
the case at the U.S. 9th Circuit
of Appeals, Carlos Bea disagreed
with Newdow, saying that gov-
ernmental references to God

have, in the past, been accepted in
certain situations.
"Not every mention of God or
religion by our government or at
the government's direction is a
violation of the Establishment
Clause," wrote Bea.
Newdow said he believes those
who disagree with him don't have
a complete understanding of the
issue. He said he has asked people
if they agree that the government
should show equal respect to
everyone regardless of their dif-
ferent backgrounds, particularly
race. After they all answered "of
course," Newdow continued to
explain that this principle should
extend to religion, and that the
government shouldn't impose
one belief system over another
through oaths that children in
public schools have to recite each
Marshall said Newdow's
work toward this reformation is
"emblematic of Newdow's passion
and principle."
"As he repeatedly said, the idea
that you would have the nation
being necessarily theistic is very
problematic," Marshall said. "On
the other hand, there is also an
understanding that there are lim-
its on how far the courts are likely
to go even if a matter of logic and
principles (is) correct."
Now residing in California,
Newdow still does locum ER
work, and during his free time, he
said he enjoys playing the guitar
and songwriting.
Newdow said he's already
released three CDs featuring lyr-
ics representing his beliefs that
religion shouldn't be involved in
the government.
One song called "Be Fair," from
his WASP Side Story album dem-
onstrates his opinion regarding
the phrase "In God we trust."
"In God some don't trust," the
song states. "No, in God some
don't trust/ If you see Him, then
good for you/ But for others, He's
just not true/ show care, let's
share. Be fair."
Both Newdow's sister and
mother said they have been unbe-
lievably proud of Newdow in his
endeavors. Julie said she went to
the Supreme Court to watch him
argue his case and said he was
"He (is) always challenging the
universe, seeing how well he can
do something on his own," Julie
said. "He thinks on his own, and
accomplishes a lot, not necessar-
ily following all the rules."

From Page 1A
into effect over the summer, Yon
said. Once it receives the license,
Tomukun plans to serve Korean,
Japanese, and Chinese beers, as well
as Soju-Korean rice wine and Saki.
"We will shut down the dinner
menu at 10 and then offer an appetiz-
er menu so bar goers can have appe-
tizers with their drinks,"Yon said.
Located on East Liberty Street
near State Street, Yon said he thinks
his restaurant will be part of a revi-
talization of the area.
"We love the location," Yon said.
"It seems like Ann Arbor is tryingto
revive (East) Liberty (Street)."
Additionally, the owners said they
believe Ann Arbor is a great place for
a noodle bar, a concept which they
said is popular acrossthe country.
"We modeled Tomukun off of the
popular noodle bars in larger cities
aroundthe country,"Yon said.
for a clientele of students, locals and
visitors alike, having already hired a
staff of students and Ann Arbor resi-

Thursday, April 15, 2010 - 5A
All three owners have experience
in the restaurant industry. Yon man-
aged Asian restaurant Yotsuba on
Washtenaw Avenue for three years.
Hang's family owns several Pan-
Asian restaurants throughout south-
east Michigan and has worked with
Kim in other restaurants around the
When Tomukun opens, it will
serve food from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on
weekdays, and 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. on
weekends. It will initially be closed
on Mondays, but Yon says this is only
LSA sophomore Devyani Upadhy-
aya said she wasn't sure if she would
go to the restaurant.
"It sounds too similar to the other
restaurants on campus, like Noodles
and Company or Sadako," she said.
"I might try the bar when I turn 21
But LSA junior Spencer Smith said
he will definitely try the food when
Tomukun opens.
"It sounds like something that
I'd be interested in," Smith said.
"It will be nice to have a restaurant
with Asian cuisine righthere intown
where I can sit down and have a nice
meal without eating a lot."

From Page 1A
Michael Benson, an MSA repre-
sentative since 2007 and recently
elected president of Rackhamgradu-
ate school, said graduate students
usually garner about 500 votes as a
collective group. He added that indi-
vidual graduate student candidates
often only need a handful of votes to
win while undergraduates running
in contested elections usually get
hundreds of votes in order to become
MSA representatives.
Yousuf, who technically needed
just one vote to win his uncontested
election, said he wrote in his name
on several online ballots, changing
punctuation with each entry to gen-
erate additional votes through the
faulty votingosystem.
The outgoing chair of MSA's Rules
and Elections Committee, Benson
said the voting website's flaw makes
the assembly "undemocratic." He
added that issues with the system, if
made public to voters, could be prob-
lematitfor the assembly.
"If other people knew about that
it could dilute the system," Ben-
son said. "This is an idiosyncrasy
between the voting system and the
MSA rules."
Yousuf said graduate student

underrepresentation has been- an
ongoing issue but was truly brought
to his attention during the MSA elec-
Graduate students who currently
serve on the assembly, Yousuf added,
are looking to increase the visibility
of graduate studentissuesoncampus
and the significance of the group as
a part of the University community.
MSA President Chris Armstrong,
who was elected in last month's
elections with a margin of more
than 1,000 votes, wrote in ane-mail
interview that he wants to make an
effort to engage graduate students
and make sure they are represefted
on the assembly because they are "a
crucialpartofthe UMcommunity."
"The first step is to fill each of
MSA's Rackham representative
seats," he wrote. "As has bee} the
case in the past, there are currently
several vacancies, which any Rack-
hamstudentcan occupy."
He added that he hopes that by
pushing more Rackham students to
run for positions in MSA, the assym-
bly will be able to better address the
needs of graduate students.
"What we hope to do come fall,
is encourage more of the graduate
studentbodyto represent their peers
who can then help MSA to engage
Michigan's graduate students," he

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